The EPA and Mining Jobs
In an op-ed in The Hill titled "Enviro elitists keep America unemployed," Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government argues that one factor behind the anemic jobs picture is the onerous regulatory environment.
In an op-ed in The Hill titled “Enviro elitists keep America unemployed,” Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government argues that one factor behind the anemic jobs picture is the onerous regulatory environment. He points to a specific case:
In Alaska, one of the most significant finds of copper, gold and molybdenum (hardens steel) in U.S. history was discovered. Yet almost a decade later — and more than $125 million of environmental and cultural studies later — the Pebble Mine is still being subjected to Environmental Protection Agency review. A review that is at best likely to demand that tens of millions more dollars be spent for additional studies encompassing an area roughly equal to the states of Maryland and New Jersey combined. All to open one mine and put 2,000 miners to work.
To make matters worse, the ore won’t be processed in the U.S., because our domestic copper smelting capacity has been cut by about 60 percent in the past 20 years. More jobs lost largely on the altar of environmental regulation.
This is just one of myriad examples of how our nation’s obsession with litigation and environmental regulation has turned us into a place where employers cannot afford to create jobs. It is cheaper and more profitable to do it elsewhere.
It’s reasonable enough to have some oversight to ensure that mining operations don’t create tremendous negative externalities–or at least ensure that those which can’t be avoided are paid for by those seeking to make a profit. But a system that requires job creators to spend tens of millions of dollars and wait more than a decade in hopes of getting a permit to start work is one that’s naturally going to dissuade a lot of job creation.
Mining is particularly problematic in this regard because it’s an intrusive activity that poses real risk to the environment. But, surely we can balance those risks without killing a vital industry that provides high paying jobs?